Dominion sues pro-Trump news outlets OAN and Newsmax over election conspiracy theories

August 11, 2021

On Tuesday, August 10, Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems— which provided 28 states with Dominion voting machines to tabulate their votes during the 2020 U.S. presidential election—filed defamation suits against One America News Network; Herring Networks’ Newsmax Media; and Patrick M. Byrne, the founder and former CEO of Overstock.com over claims by the defendants that the company rigged the 2020 U.S. election for President Joe Biden.

According to a report by CNBC, also named in the complaint are OAN personalities Chanel Rion and Christina Bobb, and Herring Networks owners Robert Herring and Charles Herring.

OAN didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Former President Donald Trump refused to accept the 2020 presidential election results and instead backed dozens of failed lawsuits and continued to spread baseless claims of voter fraud. OAN and Newsmax are pro-Trump news organizations.

The trio of complaints details that OAN, Newsmax and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne “knowingly and continuously sold the false story of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election, with Dominion cast as the villain,” CNBC reports.

“Newsmax and OAN both endorsed, repeated, broadcast, and amplified a series of verifiably false lies about Dominion to serve their own commercial purposes,” wrote Dominion lawyer Stephen Shackelford, a partner at Susman Godfrey LLP.

“Patrick Byrne is responsible for bankrolling and promoting a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion that reached millions of people worldwide. We are suing to set the record straight, to vindicate Dominion’s rights, to hold the defendants accountable, and to recover damages for the devastating economic harm done to Dominion’s business,” Shackelford added.

According to the complaint, OAN and Newsmax repeated outlandish and far-fetched fictions to include:

  • Dominion committed election fraud by rigging the 2020 Presidential Election
  • Dominion’s software and algorithms manipulated vote counts in the 2020 Presidential Election
  • Dominion is owned by or owns a company founded in Venezuela to rig elections for the late dictator Hugo Chávez
  • Dominion was involved with alleged voting irregularities in Philadelphia and Dallas — cities where its voting system is not even used.
  • Dominion paid kickbacks to government officials who used its machines in swing states during the 2020 Presidential Election

“The defendants in today’s filings recklessly disregarded the truth when they spread lies in November and continue to do so today,” Dominion CEO John Poulos wrote in a statement Tuesday, referring to the false claims of a fraudulent election.

“This barrage of lies by the defendants and others have caused — and continue to cause — severe damage to our company, customers, and employees. We have no choice but to seek to hold those responsible to account,” Poulos added.

Newsmax condemned the suit in a statement: “While Newsmax has not reviewed the Dominion filing, in its coverage of the 2020 Presidential elections, Newsmax simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the President, his advisors and members of Congress — Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press,” the company said.

Dominion was already suing Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Fox News and other pro-Trump figures over election conspiracy claims. Fox has sought to have the suit dismissed.

Research contact: @CNBC

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